One of the most complex and baroque gins I have ever encountered. If I could, I would replace my blood with this.
Notes: There is a fairly long story detailed on their website about the genealogy or evolution as it were of Monkey 47 and how it came to be that I will not go into here but it is worth a read or a view.
Monkey 47 uses a French molasses base for their alcohol which may make them unique in the gin world. Almost all the other gins use a grain base and a very few grapes or honey as a base. At least some of the ingredients we have been able to find out in more or less alphabetical order: Acacia, Acorus Calamus, Almond, Angelica, Bitter Orange, Blackberry, Cardamom, Cassia, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Citron Verbena, Cloves, Coriander, Cranberries, Cubeb, Dog Rose, Elderflower, Ginger, Grains Of Paradise, Hawthorn Berries, Hibiscus Abelmoshus, Hibiscus Syriacus, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Kaffir Lime, Lavender, Lemon, Lemon Balm, Lemongrass, Licorice, Lingonberries, Mondara Didyma, Nutmeg, Orris, Pimento, Pomelo, Rose Hip, Sage, Sloe, Spruce tips and six different members of the pepper family
All 47 of the botanicals – many of which are both organic and locally sourced- are macerated for 36 hours in a combination of pure molasses alcohol (for its sweeter attributes) and the Black Forest deep well sandstone aquaifer spring water. Then, this macerated mixture is added to the still for distillation and percolation (similar to as vapor infusion) —in which a basket of a secret botanical mix is added to the still during the process. After, its matured in traditional earthenware containers for at least three months to blend, mellow and mature . Lastly, it goes through a course filtration process and this is what keeps the spirit’s super floral flavor profile and nose without losing a lot of flavor and nuance.
Appearance: Clear as a spring day,silvery in appearance. Forms a nice oily coat on the glass when swirled, which no separation of oils or anything else, which is no mean feat with this many ingredients in play. A edge line starts to show small teardrops at first, then form long thin legs and finally a constellation of droplets .
First Impression: An extremely complex but harmonious bouquet of unrivaled complexity, if this was music I would compare it to a Bach Concerto.Juniper, cranberries,s several varieties of citrus and fruit aromas weave around each other in an intriguing dance with many other herbs providing a background and a unique olfactory structure from which the more aromatic ingredients depend (hang or attach to). A lovely highly intricate structure where there is you can taste almost every single ingredient and isolate them as a factor in a lovely, ordered , and integrated fashion that integrates and amplifies each component.
Taste: Much like the bouquet in many respects, it is a very consistent with the taste mirroring the initial impression and not only delivering but building on the bouquet, The citrus,juniper and herbs form a well ordered rush of botanicals, more than one would think is possible, but each holding its own and adding to the buildup of complex synchronicity of flavor. Overall a pleasurable melange of tastes. I need to treat my nervous system to things like this more often…
Drinks: Personally I love this gin at room temperature for its sheer complexity and scope . It is the kind of thing gin or distilling geeks ultimate puzzle of aromas and tastes and deserves some serious contemplation just on its own. Monkey 47 does however make for some very interesting cocktails with great degrees of complexity.
Bottle: A small very dark brown colored apothecary bottle that would not look out of place on a apothecaries shelf from the turn of the century,topped with a rather long tapered natural cork stopper with a metal ring about ⅔ rds of the way up to act as a retainer (and so you don’t get over enthusiastic and shove it too far in) shrink-wrapped in a clear neck capsule to hold it in place. The dark color of the glass protects the 47 botanicals from the ravages of ultraviolet and other forms of damaging light, The label is very evocative of a old engraved postage stamp from a bygone era with raised embossed lettering, deckled edges and an almost engraved plate like printing with scenes from both India and a lodge in the Schwarzwald along with of course a monkey and the motto “Rare but True”
Other: There are a few other German gins out there such as Steinhager and Schinken, but they are basically variations on the Dutch Genever style for the most part, with lots of juniper in a grain base and not much else. They are not widely drunk outside of Germany or sought out by anyone else.
Final Thoughts:While it does set new upper thresholds for gin prices , given the sheer amount of expensive, organic and hard to find ingredients and the amount of expertise, labor, and passion needed to produce this remarkable gin it is certainly worth it. A gin using anywhere from 3 to 4 times the number of ingredients ( never mind the obvious cost and quality) of anyone else, made with this much labor and passion (sourcing, mixing, preparing, and blending this many ingredients is a much harder task) for only twice the money of most other gins ? Sounds like a bargain to me !
An interesting, multifaceted, and strange in many charming ways website, much like the gin and well worth reading and exploring, nay, immersing yourself in.
Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zfNHqfFpmU A fascinating,informative and in depth appreciation of all the nuances and facets of Monkey 47 Gin